About a little more than a week before Dale took his life, he had bought me a rose and brought it by my office. It was not a rare thing at all. He would do it randomly, not because he was in trouble or because he thought he needed to for some reason. He was just sweet that way. Normally, he would buy me a white rose because those are my favorite. He couldn't get one that day but found a fire and ice rose.
("Double Delight Rose" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: audreyjm529 (Audrey) under the Creative Commons Attribution license)
It really was beautiful. I kept it in a vase on my desk. There were times when it would irritate me when he would spend money on roses for me. I'm sort of bi-polar on the issue of flowers. I love to receive flowers as a gift. I enjoy their aroma filling my office. They always add a little something beautiful to a space. But they die soon. And they cost money that could be better spent in other places, like on shoes and such. It's hard to be upset, though, when a smiling face full of love hands you a single rose. To my surprise, the rose was still just as beautiful on the day he died as it was on the day he gave it to me more than a week earlier.
His visitation and funeral were horrendously difficult, the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. The first (and last) time I saw him after he died was before the visitation. My heart wrenched. There is nothing that prepares you for seeing the body of someone you love with no life left in it, no spirit, no twinkle in the eye, no sly smile, no response to you whatsoever. I can say that at that moment, the pain was so raw and the sobs came from deep within me. I apologized for all the ways I was sure I failed. I cursed him for leaving us. I cursed evil for winning a battle. I tried to fix his hair because I knew he wouldn't like how it looked. Finally, I took that pretty little rose, the last one he had ever given me, and placed it with him. I can't say I know why other people do it, but for me, placing the rose in the casket with him was to honor him. It was to honor what he had given me. Not just the rose, but all the years of love that came with it when he gave it to me. Little did I know when he gave me the rose that it would be the last one I would receive from him, and that it would be the last thing I would ever give him.
I don't want to be all cliche and everything, but be sure to take the time to "smell the roses" while you can. Appreciate the little gifts your loved ones give you. One day, you may only have the memory.